21 November 2009

No plastic bags - what's the alternative?

Penang's "Go Green" campaign is to be commended. The state has a "No Plastic Monday" campaign running, which it plans to make permanent next year. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said “According to the data provided by 45 supermarkets, hypermarkets and other retailers, it is estimated that Penangites had saved over one million plastic bags in four months".

Sounds good.

But I've always been pondering this point. What do people really do with all the plastic bags they get from their grocery-shopping trips to the supermarkets? Do they just discard and throw them out? I don't think so, really.

I always reuse the plastic bags, mainly as garbage bags.

Now, shopping bags can be made of recyclable material like paper or cloth, but what would be the alternative to plastic garbage bags? Is it really true that 1 million plastic bags were saved in the Penang no-plastic campaign? Or did people just have to go out and buy 1 million new plastic bags to use as their garbage bags instead of the ones given out by the supermarkets?

Did it really make a difference?

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